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Showing posts from November, 2011

256. That Fatal Night by Sarah Ellis

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That Fatal Night: The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1912 by Sarah Ellis (Canada)
Dear Canada, 1912

Pages: 170
Ages: 8+
Finished: Nov. 23, 2011
First Published: Sept. 1, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Canada
Genre: children, historical fiction, Canadian author
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:
May 1, 1912
Father and Mother met with the principal this morning.
Acquired: Received  a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading: Someday I hope to read all the books in this series.

This book takes a different point of view than most kid's historical fiction I've read about the Titanic.  The book starts a few months after the sinking and we meet Titanic survivor 12 year-old Dorothy, her traveling companion did not survive, something for which she feels guilt and Dorothy doesn't really want to talk about the Titanic anymore.  She gets into an altercation at school and is sent home for the remainder of the year.  Her teacher brings her home work and a journa…

255. The Deadlies: Felix Takes the Stage Kathryn Lasky

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Felix Takes the Stage by Kathryn Lasky. Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. (US) - (Canada)
The Deadlies, #1

Pages: 142
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 21, 2008
First Published: May 1, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: children, humour, animal fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


For Felix, the best part of the night came when the concert had ended.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading:   I enjoy the author's books and animal fantasy.

This is a cute, funny book filled with lots of interesting information  on brown recluse spiders and spiders in general.  The Deadlies, a family of brown recluse spiders minus a dad, live in the basement of a philharmonic hall.  The mother is very strict that the kids keep themselves hidden as their venomous nature scares humans so much that even the sight of them will bring in the dreaded E-Men to exterminate them all; something the mother has lived through in the past.  But Felix is different from the others, he loves t…

254. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

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Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 639
Ages: 9+
Finished: Nov. 20, 2011
First Published: Sept. 13, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: children, historical fiction, realistic fiction, 1920s, 1970s
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

Something hit Ben Wilson and he opened his eyes.

Acquired: Received a Review Copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading: I loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret and have just been waiting for Selznick to follow it up with something similar.

Following the same "genre-breaking form" he established in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick returns to the half text/half wordless picture book to tell two parallel stories set fifty years apart until they eventually merge together into the same tale.  The first story set in the 1970s features Ben whose mother has just died in a car accident; he's never known who his father was and after looking around his mom's room he discovers some clues to his identity.  He runs away to New Y…

253. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd. Illustrations by Jim Kay. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 206
Ages: 12+
Finished: Nov. 19, 2011
First Published: Sept. 15, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: YA, magical realism, horror
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


The monster showed up just after midnight.  As they do.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: I was simply drawn to the plot and the cover.

A 13-year-old boy is dealing with the terminal illness of his single mother.  He has nightmares almost every night, is a loner at school, is bullied by one boy in particular and one night begin the visitations of a monster at 12:07.  The story deals with the normal emotions of a child dealing with the imminent death of a parent: grief, anger, etc. and the mystical world of the nightmares and the monster symbolize things the boy can't verbalize or rationalize himself otherwise.

This is a dark story but with a redeeming ending.  Do…

260. Holy Women by Pope Benedict XVI

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Holy Women by Pope Benedict XVI (Buy)

Pages: 143
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 24, 2011
First Published: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Genre: Catholic, Biography, Religion, Inspirational
Rating: 4/5




First sentence:

In 1988, on the occasion of the Marion Year, Bl. John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Letter entitled Mulieris Dignitatem on the precious role that women have played and play in the life of the Church.
Acquired: This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Holy Women. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Reason for Reading:   I love reading about the Saints and want to read more work of Pope B16.

This is a collection of articles on seventeen holy women of the church throughout the ages, most of the women are saints, though not quite all; most were nuns, but again not quite all.  These writings are "derived…

252. The X'ed-Out X-Ray by Ron Roy

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The X'ed-Out X-Ray by Ron Roy. Illustrated by John Steven Gurney (Canada) - (US)
A to Z Mysteries

Pages: 85
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 18, 2011
First Published: 2005
Publisher: Random House
Genre: children, mystery
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


"I'm not dressing like a penguin and you can't make me!" Josh said.
Acquired: Borrowed from my local library.

Reason for Reading:  As every year, I am participating in the AtoZ Challenge.  For the first time, this year I only have the X's left and I will have completed it so I decided to actively search out books.  My niece did a little research and came up with this title for me.  I had heard of the series before.

The kids, age unspecified, have tickets to go see a famous singer who is coming to town with the nickname "Penguin".  One of their Dad's takes them to the outdoor concert but while there during intermission Dink injures his arm.  While this is going on the singer's special diamond penguin necklac…

251. The White Ballets: Swan Lake, Giselle, and La Bayadere by Rajka Kupesic

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The White Ballets: Swan Lake, Giselle, and La Bayadere by Rajka Kupesic (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 40
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 16, 2011
First Published: Oct. 21, 2011
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, picture books, ballet, fairy tales
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


Everyone, rich and poor, was invited to the palace garden to celebrate Prince Siegfried's birthday.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading:  First I must say I am not a fan of the ballet, the dance or the music.  However, I do appreciate the stories they tell and I enjoy reading retellings of the stories either in picture book format or more involved novelized retellings.  The stories are much like fairy tales, incorporating many elements of fantasy.

This is a beautiful book.  One worth owning and adding to a collection of fairy tales or similar retellings.  Aesthetically the book is gorgeously illustrated with full page paintings and each story also has one two-page spread illustration.  …

250. Gargoyles, Monsters in Stone by Jennifer Dussling

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Gargoyles, Monsters in Stone by Jennifer Dussling. Illustrated by Peter Church (Canada) - (US)
All Aboard Reading (Level 2)

Pages: 48
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 15, 2011
First Published: 1999
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Genre: children, easy reader, non-fiction, history, middle ages, architecture
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:


High in the sky they keep watch from the tops of churches.
Acquired: Purchased a used copy from a book/library/garage sale or thrift shop.

Reason for Reading: Son read aloud to me as his reader.

We were really pleased with this book.  Ds didn't know anything about gargoyles before reading the book and found the topic fascinating.  He says he'll be looking up now instead of looking down to see if he can spot his first gargoyle.  I'm not sure if there are any around here but if there are going to be any we should find them somewhere on our travels as we live in the oldest part of the province.  Very informative, even I learned a thing or two such as where …

249. In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up by Monica Kulling

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In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up by Monica Kulling. Illustrated by David Parkins (US) - (CANADA)
Great Idea Series, #3

Pages: 32
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 14, 2011
First Published: Oct. 11,2011
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, picture book, science, biography, inventor, women's studies
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


Mr. Maxwell was behind the counter, counting out nails.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading:  I enjoy Monica Kulling's children's biographies.

Another delightful entry in the Great Ideas series!  This time Kulling brings us an inventor probably not known to many people, certainly I'd never heard of her before.  Margaret Knight was prolific with her inventions and patents throughout her life but her most famous achievement was in the paper bag industry.  While she did not invent the flat-based paper bag she did invent the machine that made it possible to mass produce them instead of having each one individually ha…

248. Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri

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Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri. Illustrated by James Weinberg. (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 406
Ages: 14+
Finished: Nov. 17, 2008
First Published: Oct. 25, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: YA, Novellas, short stories, fantasy, science fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The sun was faithful again that morning, rising above the farm with a shine so fresh it tasted like gazpacho.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading:   I really enjoyed both books in the author's "Another" series and was intrigued by this collection of novellas.

A collection of four novellas written by the author, each featuring a different sub-genre, yet all of them fit under either fantasy or science-fiction on the surface.  These stories are for the older teen and quite suited to adult reading as well, though they do feature teen main characters.  Of the four stories I really enjoyed three of them with two being quite outstanding.  The fo…

247. My First Catechism by Father Lovasik

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My First Catechism by Father Lavasik, S.V.D. (Canada) - (US)
St. Joseph Picture Books

Pages: 32
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 1, 2011
First Published: 1983
Publisher: Catholic Book Publishing Corp.
Genre: children, Catholic, religion
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


Who made you?
Acquired: Gifted a copy from ds's Godmother.

Reason for Reading:  We have been using this book as part of our religion studies every school day, very slowly, for about the past year.

A very simple yet thorough introduction to the Catechism and church teachings for youngsters and new Catholics of any age.  Simple question and answer format takes you through 11 topics starting with "Why Am I In the World" and ending with "Sin".  The final three pages present a collection of popular prayers.  Very useful and easy to understand.  Gave my son a good grounding in Catholic theology and we both memorized the ten commandments in order!  Highly recommended.

246. Around the World by Matt Phelan

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Around the World by Matt Phelan (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 236
Ages: 10+
Finished: Nov. 13, 2011
First Published: Oct. 11,2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: children, graphic novel, historical fiction, biography, world explorers, travel
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

It all began, as many great adventures begin, with a story.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading:  I enjoy graphic biographies and while I wasn't too impressed with Matt Phelan's Storm in the Barn, thought I'd give him another go.

This is the story of three late 19th century "around the world travelers".  The book opens with the scene from Verne's famous book of the same name where Phileas Fogg makes his bet to travel around the world in 80 days.  It was the publication of this book that inspired many real life adventurous types to set off and do the same thing.  Told separately in three vignettes, the reader is introduced to the stories of three such adventurer…

245. The Dragon Turn by Shane Peacock

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The Dragon Turn by Shane Peacock (Canada) - (US)
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 5th Case

Pages: 220
Ages: 12+
Finished: Nov. 13, 2011
First Published: Oct. 11, 2011
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, mystery, historical fiction, magicians
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

The moment the dragon appears on the stage of The Egyptian Hall theater in London, Sherlock Holmes knows there is something truly wonderful, truly disturbed, about Alistair Hemsworth.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

I always look forward to reading the next installment of The Boy Sherlock Holmes, knowing I'm in for a good mystery, period piece and adventure.  The fifth book in the series, The Dragon Turn was no disappointment!  Set in the world of Victorian prestidigitation, the reader is planted back stage at the antics of self-important magicians and the violent death of one leaving very few remains other than pieces of flesh, whilst a rival is collared for the…

244. Tales From India: Stories of Creation and the Cosmos by Jamila Gavin

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Tales From India: Stories of Creation and the Cosmos by Jamila Gavin. Illustrated by Amanda Hall. (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 88
Ages: 10+
Finished: Nov. 10, 2008
First Published: Sept. 13, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: mythology, Hindu
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Before the world began, there was only a white sea of milk.Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading:  I enjoy reading mythology.  Hindu mythology is relatively new to me and I have been reading it a bit this year.

This is a beautiful large illustrated children's book that can be read by anyone interested in the stories of Hindu mythology.  The book starts with the tales of creation, the creation of the gods, creation of man and finally various adventures of the gods and half-gods.  I find the stories to be much more fantastical than other mythology but they hold strong to the same themes of good vs. evil, gods vs. man, and stories of how things came to be.  I also find the Hindi tal…

DNF: Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis

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Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis (Canada) - (US)

Pages:56/260
Ages: 18+
Finished: DNF
First Published: Oct. 1, 2009
Publisher: Wordcraft of Oregon
Genre: dark noire, historical fiction, psychological drama
Rating: DNF


First sentence:
Near the top of North Mountain a tumbledown shed leaned against an old lightning-struck oak at the edge of a raggedy field.Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading:  I actually like reading dark, gloomy noire novels with depressing themes and depressing ends.  This sounded along those lines and promised a redemptive ending.

I have a 50-page rule that I give a book before deciding not to go any further and I made it to page 56 out of 260 before deciding this wasn't the book for me at this time.  I had no problem with the writing or style, in fact, it is possible I might have come out of the book appreciating it.  But by page 56, I had decided I just did not want to spend time with the ugliness of this story.…

243. First Descent by Pam Withers

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First Descent by Pam Withers. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 265
Ages: 15+
Finished: Nov. 10, 2011
First Published: Sept. 13, 2011
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, adventure, extreme sports,
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

When the shot rang out, I leapt from my bed, lifted a corner of the bedroom curtain, and looked down on the river bend
Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher.

Reason for Reading: The plot sounded exciting and I am a fan of this publisher, trusting their book selection when I haven't heard of the author before.

Excellent.  A superb adventure story that should especially touch reluctant male teen readers.  This is an exciting rush of adrenaline from start to finish. 17-year-old Rex is an expert whitewater kayaker taking after his grandfather who raised him along with his mother.  His grandfather was well-known in his day for making many first descents down rivers in South America but ended his career when local Natives chased him out of an area of Colombia leav…

242. The Flash: Trickster's Bubble Trouble (DC Super Heroes)

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The Flash:Trickster's Bubble Trouble by Michael Dahl. Illustrated by Erik Doescher, Mike DeCarlo & Lee Loughridge (Canada) - (US)
DC Super Heroes

Pages: 54
Ages: 8+
Finished: Nov. 6, 2011
First Published: Aug. 1,2011
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, early chapter book, superheroes
Rating:  3/5

First sentence:


"That's the funniest thing I've ever seen!" said a man.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading: My son loves these books and I always read them first before handing them over for bedtime story time. They are above his reading level yet.

I love the new Green Lantern and Flash volumes that have been added to this series this year but this one was a little disappointing.  Flash meets up with Trickster again.  A moody teenager whose goal in life is to beat The Flash.  This time Trickster thinks he has the answer by using scientific elements that can't be seen such as gas and air pressure along with …

Canadian Book Challenge 5 - COMPLETED

I finished my original 13 books for this challenge, so am moving it over to the completed challenges.  I will however continue to add to this list as the official finish date is not until June 30, 2012.  My 13 challenge books are listed below with the extras noted underneath.

The rules are the same as always: read 13 books by June 30th, 2012. Over 13 is fine. Use your own definition of Canadian Author or Canadian Book.  The Challenge is hosted as ever by the brilliant book host, John Mutford, over at Book Mine Set. Here is my list starting July 1st, 2011.

Canadian Book Challenge 5
1. Canada's Maple Leaf: The Story of Our Flag by Ann-Maureen Owens & Jane Yealland
2. Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart
3. Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
4. Bone Beds of the Badlands by Shane Peacock
5. The Color of Lightning by Paulete Jilles
6. Sinking Deeper or My Questionable (Possible Heroic) Decision to Invent a Sea Monster by Steve…

241. The Flash: Master of Mirrors! (DC Super Heroes)

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The Flash: Master of Mirrors by Laurie S. Sutton. Illustrated by Dan Schoening, Mike DeCarlo & Lee Loughridge (Canada) - (US)
DC Super Heroes

Pages: 54
Ages: 8+
Finished: Nov. 5, 2011
First Published: Aug. 1,2011
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, early chapter book, superheroes
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:
"Do diamonds come in purple?" the girl asked.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading: My son loves these books and I always read them first before handing them over for bedtime story time. They are above his reading level yet.

Well I was excited as a little kid that Green Lantern and The Flash have been added to this series and couldn't wait to start reading. As usual the illustrations are DC Comics quality and there are usually two per chapter.  An exciting superhero story which pits the Flash against Mirror Master who has duplicates of himself robbing many of Central Cities banks, jewelry stores and museu…

240. I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

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I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (Canada) - (US)
Flavia de Luce Mysteries, 4

Pages: 275
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 5, 2011
First Published: Nov. 1, 2011
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Genre: mystery
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:
Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing bodies.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

Oh, the sweet pure pleasure of reading a Flavia de Luce mystery, the witty and wise 11yo chemist with a propensity for poisons.  Book 4 in the series is as fresh and original as book 1 and, I think at this point, my favourite in the series.  Making a great Christmas gift as our action takes place on Christmas Eve this is sure to please fans and newcomers alike.  Fans will be pleased to see familiar faces but newcomers won't miss a thing just jumping in with this series.  A great character study and return to the traditional British mystery, Bradley has the Christie flai…

DNF: Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline

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Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 173/386
Ages: 18+
Finished: DNF
First Published: 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: legal thriller, suspense, crime
Rating: DNF




First sentence:


Nat Greco felt like an A cup in a double-D bra.
Acquired: My sister gave me some of her extra books to take home with me.

Reason for Reading:  I've never been partial to legal thrillers, but my sister has a lot of books by the author so I thought I'd try her out.

Most of Scottoline's books are part of a series, this however is a standalone.  I've been picking my way through this book since Tuesday and just can't get into it.  There was a small part where I thought things were finally picking up and I was interested but I soon lost that feeling.  As I said I'm not that fond of legal mysteries, this isn't that an exciting of a plot.  A prison riot, the lawyers later find themselves in danger and way too much of a will they or won't they romance theme.  J…

239. Green Lantern: Savage Sands (Super DC Heroes)

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Green Lantern: Savage Sands by J.E. Bright. Illustrated by Dan Schoening. (Canada) - (US)
Super DC Heroes

Pages: 53
Ages: 8+
Finished: Oct. 28, 2011
First Published: Aug. 1, 2011
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, superheroes, action
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

ZWWWOOOOMMMM!  Test pilot Hal Jordan scorched through the sky above Edwards Air Force Base.Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading:  I admit to enjoying these books as much as my son and I always read and review them first, before passing them on for dad to read to him as bedtime books.  They are above his reading level yet.

This book is pure super hero action.  Whilst working his day job Hal Jordan, aka The Green Lantern, is pushing the limits of an experimental hypersonic jet.  Once he returns to base he is called in for a mission by the Green Lantern Corps.  Seems Egypt is experiencing wild sand storms and they have captured a man on security film stealing an ancient Egyptian hi…

238. Seal Journey by Richard & Jonah Sobol

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Seal Journey by Richard & Jonah Sobol. Photographs by Richard Sobol. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: unpaginated (approx. 32)
Ages: 7+
Finished: Oct. 27, 2011
First Published: 1993
Publisher: Cobblehill Books
Genre: children, picturebook, non-fiction, animals, harp seal,
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:
The life cycle of the harp seal is one of the great wonders of nature.
Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: I am reading Richard Sobol's entire backlist with my son and discussing the life of a photographer/photojournalist as a career option while doing so.  This is the final book for us to read.

A short read with lots of illustrations.  The author brought his son with him on this assignment and the story is told through both of their points of view.  The reader is generally shown the complete life of a seal pup from birth until it is abandoned by it's mother.  Then it describes at this point how it will take the cub a couple more years until he is…

237. Hide by Lisa Gardner

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Hide by Lisa Gardner (US) - (Canada)
D.D. Warren, #2

Pages: 451
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 23, 2011
First Published: 2007
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: mystery, thriller
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

My father explained it to me the first time when I was seven years old: The world is a system
Acquired: I was visiting relatives and borrowed this from my sister.

Reason for Reading: I am reading this series but started with book #3, since my sister had the first two books it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with the series.

It is two years after the first book and Bobby Dodge has become a State Police detective.  When Boston P.D. uncover an underground pit containing the bodies of six young girls, the similarities to the case in book one are too familiar not to notice.  Bobby Dodge and D.D. Warren are partnered up to investigate.  Not only will this take them back to the persons concerned with the first case but also introduce them to a young woman who has spent her entire life on the run an…